I was laid off in the summer of 2020 and lost health benefits, but I didn’t elect COBRA then because I couldn’t afford the premium. Can I get this subsidy now?

Yes.  During the pandemic, the time people have to elect COBRA (normally just 60 days) has been extended by up to one year.  So you still have time to elect COBRA.  And because your qualifying event was loss of employment, you are also eligible for the COBRA subsidy.

Normally when people elect COBRA, coverage and premiums take effect retroactively back to your qualifying event.  However, a special rule applies to subsidy-eligible individuals who lost employment before April 1 and who haven’t yet elected COBRA.  For these individuals only, once you elect COBRA, coverage and premiums will take effect starting April 1. 

While we have made every effort to provide accurate information in these FAQs, people should contact the health insurance Marketplace or Medicaid agency in their state for guidance on their specific circumstances.

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The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.